Can affordable products still be efficient?

Thanks to brands such as The Ordinary, the answer is yes. Launched in 2016, The Ordinary started a beauty revolution. Gone were the days where respectable and effective skincare cost an arm and a leg. Founder Brandon Truax came up with a brand that was accessible to all and possessed no limitations to consumers. His vision was to strip back unnecessary scent and packaging, and marketing “clinical formulations with integrity”. This meant that people of all budgets were able to get their hands on key ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol at a purse-friendly cost. This transparency allowed people to become more educated on what they put on their skin and focus on the active ingredients rather than just the trusted brand name or aesthetic.

This paved the way for several more brands to make their mark and as more and more new brands launch, it is proving that affordable skincare is most definitely the way forward in the multi-billion dollar beauty industry.

Here are some of my favourite affordable and hella effective skincare brands:

The Ordinary

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This has to be mentioned of course. The first brand of its kind that I tried back when it launched. I used to buy from NIOD, the sister brand all under the Deciem umbrella, and was very impressed by the outstanding quality of the products. I have used The Ordinary since launch but my favourite products have got to be the Serum Foundation, Squalane Cleanser and Argan Oil.

The Inkey List

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The UK’s very own creation which hit the shelves, back in April 2019. At not even a year old, they have left a huge mark in the industry already being stocked in huge retailers such as Boots and Cult Beauty. I may have a soft spot for them as they are as old as my baby! My favourites here have to be the Salicylic Acid Cleanser, Snow Mushroom gel moisturiser and Brighten-I Eye Cream. With loads of brand new products being launched, I predict a successful 2020 for this incredible brand.

Good Molecules

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Hailing from sunny San Francisco, Good Molecules is America’s answer to affordable beauty. Starting at prices as low as £5, Good Molecules provides a full routine of budget-friendly skincare, all in shelfie – worthy, bright and colourful packaging. Only available via Beautylish, who offer worldwide shipping, Good Molecules has earnt a strong place in this competitive industry. My faves? Has to be their Hyaluronic Acid Serum, Niacinamide Brightening Toner and Silicone-Free Priming Moisturiser.

Already since the start of 2020, we have seen new brands emerge to fill this ever-growing niche of affordable beauty. Boots started off by launching Boots Ingredients, followed by newbie Q+A Skin who’s products are also free from artificial fragrances and contain no mineral oil. Finally and most recently, trusted beauty website Beauty Bay launched their own brand aptly named Skincare by Beauty Bay.

If 2019 was the year for woke beauty consumers, then 2020 is the year for affordable skincare for all! I am here for it!

You can follow me on Instagram @beaussima

Let’s talk about the C word

No, not that one you filthy animal.

C as in, clean. Clean beauty. Do you even know what it means? Well, it depends on what side of the pond you’re on I guess.

Clean: the most overused yet least understood word in the beauty industry.

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clean, adjective

BrE /kliːn/

(cleaner, cleanest)

not dirty

not harmful

not offensive

not illegal

According to the Oxford Dictionary, this simple definition of the word is exactly what you expect your beauty products to be, right? Not dirty or harmful, YES. Not offensive nor illegal…well I hope not!

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Here’s my problem with this, I totally blame careless celebrities who follow trends such as this one and preach them without any solid background knowledge or qualifications. It seems that someone has stuck the clean beauty label on an unrealistic and hypocritical lifestyle. One simply cannot live chemical free. And as a result of their strong influence, it has caught on.

What has happened as a result? Many brands have jumped on the scaremongering bandwagon and used this trend to maximise on the fear and naivety of consumers. Not ok.

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Here’s my take on clean beauty. What should it really entail? It’s 2020, so products should most definitely always be cruelty free – that is a non negotiable. Vegan (if possible), sustainable, recyclable, etc. Brands need to be more conscious and responsible with their carbon footprint and effect on our environment. But unfortunately, here’s the hypocritical take on clean beauty: non toxic, natural, chemical free. Nothing wrong with our products being non toxic (EU regulations are very strict) but the issue is that all chemicals are being branded toxic. All chemicals bro. All of them.

BUT WATER (H2O) IS A CHEMICAL YOU NIMBITS. OXYGEN (O) FILLING YOUR OBNOXIOUS LUNGS IS A CHEMICAL. Are they toxic? Nein.

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If you want your products to be chemical free then I can only direct you to Caroline Hirons who will then direct you to the sun worshipping, butthole people. You cannot be saved.

What brands need to understand is that the average consumer is a lot more clued up than 10 years ago yet still try to scaremonger people into buying their products FULL OF CHEMICALS. I also find it ironic that Stateside there are thousands of ingredients banned by the EU yet still used in clean beauty. And just like that we go full circle. I know…

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Brands have jumped on this hype way too aggressively and are monopolising on the manipulation of others. Just because a product is labeled as clean does not necessarily make it any better than a product without. Turn the product around and read the actual inci list.

If you want makeup advice, speak to a qualified makeup artist.

Skincare? An accredited aesthetician.

Actual issues? A whole Doctor.

Here’s what not to do…take the word of a celebrity or Instagrammer as gospel. Do some actual research. Speak to people who hang their certificates on their office walls.

You can follow me on Instagram @beaussima

Is customisable beauty still effective or just a marketing hype?

How many of us get giddy with joy when we are gifted personalised accessories? I sure do! Give me anything with my name on it and I will treasure it forever. There’s something quite exclusive and luxurious about having your name on products. With a name like Nassima, it’s highly unlikely that I find my name in gift shop mugs and key rings so it’s always extra special when I can do this for myself.

But this isn’t about personalised labels – it’s about bespoke beauty products. Function of Beauty recently paved the way for this ‘create your own’  beauty revolution and more and more brands are jumping on the hype. Is it just another marketing ploy, or does customising your products actually make them more effective?


Brands are becoming more and more inclusive and beginning to try to cater to all – but is this enough? We live in a time where our demands are becoming more niche and consumers are no longer settling for less. We are all unique, so how can one product suit all? But does this all come at a cost? Does the effectiveness of the product go down as demand for exclusivity increases?

3fb4d558aa5b154e273e5dd73cf085c4Let’s start with Function of Beauty, one of the first and the most known customisable haircare brand. Founded in 2015, FOB filled a gap in the market, allowing you the option to create your own shampoo and conditioner to suit your personal needs. But it didn’t stop there – no. You could also choose a scent – or go unscented – and even select the colour of the product itself. How millennial can this get? And it proved to be a selling point thanks to social media. Soon, more and more of us (myself included) were filling in that hair quiz online and becoming lab technicians in our own homes.
The result? A hair regimen that deep conditioned, hydrated, strengthened, lengthened and defined my curls. Did it deliver? Well, I wasn’t disappointed.

A similar concept to Function of Beauty, with the addition of skin and body care, is A_0008_IMG_1499-copy_grandeBritish born brand Emulsion Cosmetics. It works in a similar way in which you can personalise your skin and hair care, however, all mixes start with a standard base. Each base is natural, unfragranced and suitable for all skin types. You may choose to use one of the many bases on their own, but the fun comes in mixing with the blends and fragrances. You start with a base, add the essential oils and finally the fragrance. The fragrances, I must say, smell divine. Super luxurious and timeless. The way it differs as well is that the mixing is done each time that you use the product which I think is great because you could choose to switch it up from time to time.

Moving on in skincare to a more dermatological approach is the brand Dermatica, offering you personalised prescription treatments. You no longer have to pay to see a c4a2ee02d939ed29031ede214501a79adermatologist before getting a prescription for your acne – from the touch of your phone, you fill out a few questions, send your pictures in and within a few days are sent your prescription treatments. At an affordable £20(ish) a month, this is a fantastic concept. and if your skin is improving (or not), you simply need to update your profile and a dermatologist will be in touch.

I’m pretty sure 2020 will see more and more of these concepts popping up and I’m here for it.

You can follow me on Instagram @beaussima

Is cleanser crack a real addiction?

The answer is hell yes.

Hello, my name is Nassima and I have a cleanser addiction.

I can’t describe it. That feeling when you open a fresh cleanser, slather it all over your face, watch it melt the grime and makeup away and leave you with a clean, fresh face. You have to have a lot of respect for cleansers – I mean, you only have one face. All great skin starts with a good cleanser. No point having a £99 serum if you just wipe your makeup off with a micellar water or even worse, just a wipe.

By the way, I’m not actively part of the witch hunt against wet wipes. Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. However, if you are near a sink, then you have no real excuse.

Cleansers are so special to me and I’ll tell you why. Back when I was trying to figure out why my skin was so angry with me, I was always using a cleanser targeted towards drying out my face and acne. What did I didn’t realise at the time was that I was doing more harm than good. Enter Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel  oskiaI first tried this cleanser after it was recommended by good old Caroline Hirons who suggested that an oilier cleanser be used when skin is drying out in the colder months. Instant success. Within a few days, my skin seemed happier, more balanced, less angry. The scent on this baby is also classic, iconic Oskia. Floral but slightly fruity. Sort of like Turkish Delight. Not only is this an excellent makeup remover, but it also doubles up as a mask thanks to the pumpkin enzymes. I have repurchased this cleanser continuously for the past five years. I actually have one in every size so it’s worth picking up a mini and giving it a try for yourself. This is my first love cleanser, which I have cheated on many a time but will always, always come back to.

Although that cleanser has a special place in my heart, it did ignite a newly found obsession. I’ve tried hundreds (I’m not joking) of cleansers in my time as a beauty lover. Going back to 2006, my first cleanser was the Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Foaming Face Wash – tata harperit was such a good cleanser! Even as a teen, I knew about the importance of skincare. The next cleanser that changed my skin, therefore life, was the Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser. Expensive, I know. But amazing. This really helped calm and control my breakouts. It’s a lovely clay, gel formula, non-drying and very effective. I’ll admit, I’ve never bought this full price. Only with a discount or a gift card. So, if you want to treat yoself, go for this!

Another, equally incredible, cleanser quite similar to this but much more affordable is from a relatively new Indie brand. The A.Florence Hydrating Gel Cleanser with HA, Matcha and Chlorella a florence– now I want to make it clear that this isn’t a ‘dupe’ for the Tata Harper cleanser. This product is in a league of its own. Formulated by the talented Tina Sanders, this cleanser melts away even the most stubborn eye makeup with such ease. It is a proper gel – does not turn into an oil. It’s so special because I feel it is so gentle yet it packs a punch. This too, has helped keep my breakouts at bay. In fact, there isn’t anything I don’t like from this brand actually.the inkey list

A few newcomers that I have tried from very affordable brands have quickly crept up to my top shelf choices. The first being The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser – a really kind to skin and effective cleanser. Those that need an acid fix need not worry as this is very gentle – even kind to eyes. My second one that costs a FIVER is The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser. the ordinaryExcellent makeup remover, gentle, softening and non-drying. What more do you want?

I’m sure I can list many more but for now these are my loves.

Cleanse your face people.

You can follow me on Instagram @beaussima